Lion ***1/2

3.5 out of 5 stars

Or The Google Earth Movie – as it plays a key part in the plot and the film begins and ends with impressive landscape shots mirroring that of the website. Based on the autobiography of Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy who was adopted by an Australian family in the 80s, this is the story of how he ends up there and his subsequent reawakening in search of his roots. While it is not hard to guess what happens here, it is still one of those uplifting human stories that can be quite sentimental and soppy when made into a film. Garth Davis, a first time features director, took a more straightforward approach in adapting the book with a linear and chronological approach that clearly and effectively sets out the events of Saroo’s life leading up to the present day. Dev Patel, playing the older Saroo, have upped his game acting opposite actors such as Nicole Kidman (aiming for a supporting actress nod no doubt) and Rooney Mara (who hasn’t really got much to do here), but he is overshadowed by newcomer Sunny Pawar who plays the young Saroo whose innocent and natural presence dominates the first half of the film. That is not to say this isn’t sentimental, soppy or even manipulative as you tear up during the final scenes, but it is certainly a few cuts above your average non-Awards baiting grade sentimentality and soppiness.

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